Finding Your Purple Cow

A recent comment to one of my posts had me thinking about marketing guru Seth Godin’s fantastic book The Purple Cow. A quick and fun read, I highly recommend everyone get a copy. In one sentence, The Purple Cow is about making yourself marketable by being remarkable.

Published authors are always talking about how they can market their books, what they can do to increase sales, and how they can find new and inventive ways to publicize their work. The truth is that marketing begins with the unpublished work. To truly become remarkable you need to create a product that is marketable.

Whether you are selling your unpublished work to publishers and agents or your published work to readers, the work itself is your first and most important marketing tool. A hook, or creating a book with a high concept, is an agent’s way of saying, “Give me something I can market.”

Selling a new romance, mystery, science fiction or fantasy novel is just another black-and-white cow in the pasture, but a werewolf mystery series, an erotic romance featuring shape-shifters, or a fantasy version of Cinderella make your book a purple cow—a standout among all other books—or at least they did at one time. Now that these have been done, it’s time for you to come up with your own purple cow.


Category: Blog


  1. A year ago, I remember sitting in a PAN session with Sue Grimshaw, head romance buyer of Borders Group Inc.Laughing like it was a big joke, she said that if you could write a paranormal-shapeshifter-werewolf-erotic romance, you’d have the perfect book. I sat their grinning and thinking DAYUM! It only took me twenty years, but I finally nailed one! Of course, that was LAST year’s flavor of the week.

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